Album : We are King by King
Release Date : February 2016
My Favourite Tracks : Supernatural, Hey
Another album that has appeared on many ‘Best of 2016’ lists, making it perfect for my ‘Listen to an album a week’ goal that is part of my 35 Before 35. It’s variously described as ‘dream-pop’, ‘atmospheric’, ‘ambient’, among other such adjectives, and it’s just that. It’s floaty, and hazy, and listening to it in the week before Christmas is probably not the best time to appreciate it.
I like it, but in all honesty it’s not entirely my cup of tea. At least, not a whole album of these songs; I tend to prefer something a little more upbeat. Supernatural is far and away my favourite track from the album, but the rest of it just doesn’t rock my socks. Maybe I’ll go back to it in the height of summer and see if I feel any differently about it.
Album : Love & Hate by Michael Kiwanuka
Release Date : July 2016
Singles : Black Man in a White World, Love & Hate, One More Night
My Favourite Tracks : Black Man in a White World, Cold Little Heart, The Final Frame
This album has popped up on so many ‘Best of 2016’ lists that I thought it was about time I had a listen. I know he is critically revered, but aside from the odd song on the radio, he isn’t someone I’ve listened to an awful lot.
This is a great album, as everyone is saying. Even for someone like me, who just listens to music but doesn’t necessarily understand it all that well, I can hear just how great this album is. The first track, lasting ten minutes, and going for five minutes before we even get any vocals from Kiwanuka, is stunning, and sets the tone for the rest of the album.
This is exactly the type of album that I started this challenge for, to push myself out of my comfort zone slightly, and listen to things that I wouldn’t usually reach for on Spotify.
Album : A Very Kacey Christmas by Kacey Musgraves
Release Date : October 2016
My Favourite Tracks : Present Without a Bow, Ribbons and Bows, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
A Very Kacey Christmas is actually the album that gave me the idea for doing this album a week blog post – I saw that she was releasing it and I saved it for the last week in November to listen to it!
It’s an excellent addition to the plethora of Christmas albums that have come before it. From the seasonal standards like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Let It Snow and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, to the original songs written by Kacey herself. These are some of my favourites on the album – I love the classics but the new songs are great. Present Without a Bow features Leon Bridges, a gospel and soul singer whose voice is just a delight (I’ll be exploring his albums throughout the year, I’m sure). A Willie Nice Christmas is a fun track featuring Willie Nelson, while Christmas Makes Me Cry is a more melancholy look at the festive season. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas is the earworm from the album, and it’s a lot of fun!
Kacey Musgraves is a country singer, but to me, this isn’t a country Christmas album per se. It seems to be just be a collection of songs that Kacey loves, along with those she has written for the album. It’s helping to get me in the festive spirit, and I know that some of these tracks will be upgraded to my regular Christmas playlist for many years to come.
As part of my 35 Before 35 challenge, I am listening to a new album a week, and blogging about each one.
Album : FMA by Grace
Release Date : July 2016
Singles : You Don’t Own Me, Boyfriend Jeans, Hell of a Girl
My Favourite Tracks : You Don’t Own Me, Boyfriend Jeans, Church on Sunday, New Orleans
I chose to listen to FMA for the simple reason that I really love You Don’t Own Me, as featured in the House of Fraser advert last Christmas. I had no idea that it wasn’t an original song, though I’ve since learnt that Lesley Gore recorded it in the 1960s.
This is an album that seems to cover many different musical genres, with the first half of the album veering more to towards the poppier sides of things, and the later tracks feeling a lot more soulful. But the jazzy tones pervade throughout, and there’s no denying that Grace’s voice bears a striking similarity to the late great Amy Winehouse. However, where Amy’s voice betrayed the pain and turmoil of her private life, while Grace has a beautiful voice, it lacks that same authenticity.
That’s not to say, however, that this isn’t an enjoyable album. The songs are catchy and fun, and it only took a couple of listens for some of them to become real earworms for me!
I’m like most bloggers; I love getting post, and I love a blog swap. Ages and ages ago, I joined in with a Mix CD swap through a US blog that I can’t remember the name of, and it was such fun, that I did it a couple of times subsequently with a lovely blogger from Texas. This is my attempt to set up something similar, and see how many people are interested in joining in!
I don’t know how many people actually make mix CDs any more, but I love the idea of making someone a CD with songs on it that I think they might like. Obviously the tradition goes back to mix tapes, and there’s something quite touching about someone taking the time to make something like that!
The basic idea of the swap would be thus; you sign up by leaving a comment with your name and a brief outline of your musical tastes. I pair you up with someone, and then you make a CD filled with songs you think they will like!
I’m thinking that it would be good to have a theme, so I’m going with autumn. Of course, as a theme it’s quite broad, and there are probably hundreds of songs that could work for it.
So, if you are interested, please leave a comment with the following information:
- Your name and email address (if you’d prefer not to make your email address public, just email me email@example.com)
- Where in the world you are, and if you would prefer to swap with someone in the same country (I’m not sure how international this is going to be, but just in case!)
- Your favourite genres of music
- Your favourite all-time song
If I get enough interest, I’ll email everyone with their partners the week beginning 28th September. Please spread the word; if you know anyone who might be interested in joining in, please let them know!